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Broadband providers should not be forced to filter adult content at network level, the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) has claimed.

Nicholas Lansman, ISPA Secretary General, said forcing users to opt out of adult controls is "neither the most effective nor most appropriate way to prevent access to inappropriate material online".

"It is easy to circumvent, reduces the degree of active interest and parental mediation and has clear implications for freedom of speech," he stated.

"Instead parents should choose how they restrict access to content, be it on the device or network level with the tools provided."

Mr Lansman was commenting after an Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection called on broadband providers to do more to keep children safe online.

ISPA gave evidence to this parliamentary inquiry and also submitted a consultation response.

"We argued in our evidence that [broadband providers] already provide a variety of services to their customers and continually review and improve their offering based on customer's feedback," Mr Lansman commented.

"A variety of measures are available to parents and carers and a network level filter should not be viewed as a silver bullet."

He agreed that education is important and members should offer security guides and help to their customers.

Mr Lansman argued that government should concentrate on helping educate consumers to ensure they know about the tools already available to them to restrict unwanted content.

"Additionally, the question arises of who decides what inappropriate material is and for whom and whether there is a guarantee that filtering will not be used for other content," he stated.

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